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Holidays without travelling

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Holidays from HomeFour Walls No Limits' Ricky Buchanan conducted an interview with Claire Wade, the founder of Holidays from Home.

Holidays from Home describes itself as "a voluntary organisation which provides virtual holidays for people who are unable to travel due to illness, age or disability. The health problems may be your own or someone you care for. Virtual holidays allow experiences of the world for people who would normally be unable to travel."

Here's an excerpt from the interview:

Ricky: Let's start off with some background – who are you, where do you live, what does your life involve?

Claire: My name's Claire Wade, I'm 26 and live in Norfolk, England. I've had ME for 16 years, bedbound for 6, now slowly improving. I'm mainly housebound; but starting to get out and about a bit, mainly using my wheelchair.

What got you interested in doing things for homebound and bedridden people?

Despite being so ill I was still really mentally active which meant I got bored very quickly. I wanted to find things that I could do; but there often weren't many options so I had to come up with my own. I also discovered that there was a serious lack of information and I wanted to help other people in a similar situation so I used my experiences to write books and put together websites.

What was your inspiration for Holidays From Home specifically? And can you describe what a virtual holiday is?

I have been developing the idea of virtual holidays for 7 years, since June 2002. The idea came about because I was bedbound with severe ME and was unable to go on holiday with my family. I decided I wanted an alternative solution and since none existed I created my own.

I decided I would have a virtual holiday to Greece. With the assistance of my Mum we put pictures up round my bedroom so I could lie and look at them. We ate traditional Greek food, for example feta and olives and Greek yoghurt and honey.

We also did alternative holiday activities including throwing white paper plates similar to the Greek tradition of breaking plates and I also paddled in a foot spa pretending it was the sea.

My Mum and I enjoyed the holiday so much that I decided to write another holiday for my friends with ME. I chose Australia and over the next year put together a written holiday which I had typed up and printed off to send to them.

The response was very positive so in 2005 I wrote a second holiday to New York for a friend's 21st birthday, which I sent with a box full of American goodies, including pictures, hats and food.

On completion of the holidays I felt there was a potential that the holidays would be of interest to other people who were unable to travel for health reasons so to test this theory I set up Holidays From Home as a voluntary organisation to provide the virtual holidays for free.

The full interview can be found here.



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